Financial Power of Attorney

Many people focus on building wealth and securing financial stability when planning for the future. Yet, one crucial aspect that often gets overlooked is establishing a financial power of attorney.


In an unpredictable world, it’s essential to have a plan in place that protects your financial interests in case of unforeseen circumstances. While it may not be a pleasant topic, establishing a financial power of attorney protects your wealth and assets.


With this document, your loved ones may avoid numerous obstacles when handling your financial matters. Below, we’ll delve into the significance of a Power of Attorney for wealth security and discuss critical considerations when choosing the right person to act as your financial agent.

lawyer hand with pen pointing a document

What is a Financial POA?

A power of attorney for finances is a legal document that gives a named person the power to make financial decisions and oversee financial matters on your behalf. This document holds significant importance in estate planning and financial stability. This legal instrument becomes especially important if you cannot control your finances due to incapacity, illness, or other circumstances.


The primary purpose of a financial POA is to ensure the seamless management of your financial affairs when you cannot do so yourself. As specified in the document, this appointed person works with your trusted financial institutions to make decisions related to banking, investments, real estate, taxes, and other financial matters.

Benefits of Having a Financial Power of Attorney

Having a financial power of attorney in place is of paramount importance for several reasons:


1. Continuity of Financial Management: Life can be uncertain, and unexpected accidents or illnesses may disrupt your ability to manage your finances. In such situations, a power of attorney for finances ensures that someone you trust can step in and make economic decisions on your behalf, safeguarding your economic well-being.

2. Avoiding Legal Complications: Without a financial power of attorney, your family members could encounter legal hurdles and delays in managing your finances if you become incapacitated. They may have to request the court’s intervention for guardianship or conservatorship, which can consume time and finances.

3. Asset Protection: The person designated in the POA can immediately protect your assets and investments, ensuring they are managed according to your wishes. This can include paying bills, managing investments, and even selling or purchasing assets if necessary.

4. Tax and Financial Planning: A financial power of attorney allows the person in charge to continue essential financial planning and tax-related activities, ensuring that your financial goals and obligations are met even in your absence.

5. Peace of Mind: Knowing you have a trusted individual ready to act on your behalf can provide peace of mind. You can choose someone you trust to make financial decisions that align with your values and preferences.


6. Protection Against Financial Abuse and Scams: Financial abuse and scams targeting vulnerable individuals, including older people or those with diminished capacity, are unfortunately prevalent today. Having a financial power of attorney in place acts as a protective shield against such threats.

The person in charge manages your finances and acts in your best interests. This legal duty includes safeguarding your assets and protecting you from financial abuse. They can closely monitor financial transactions, scrutinize requests for money or support, and take immediate action if they suspect any fraudulent activity. This protection is especially crucial as financial scams become increasingly sophisticated and widespread.

What to Include in Financial POA

Crafting a comprehensive and well-structured financial POA is essential to ensure that your financial matters are managed in accordance with your preferences and overall well-being. Here’s what you should include when creating this power of attorney form:


1. Clear Identification of Parties: Begin by identifying the parties involved. As the principal, you designate an agent or “attorney-in-fact” who will manage your finances. Include your and your agent’s full legal names, contact information, and addresses.


2. Powers Granted: Be specific about your agent’s authority on behalf of the principal when you are listing the powers granted. These powers range from managing bank accounts, paying bills, and handling investments to buying or selling real estate and making tax-related decisions. Be explicit in detailing which financial matters your trusted person can oversee.


3. Limitations and Restrictions: If specific limitations or restrictions exist on your trusted agent’s authority, clearly outline them in the document. For instance, you may add conditions to making financial transactions or decisions.


4. Activation Criteria: Determine when the financial power of attorney becomes effective. You can make it effective immediately upon signing, a specific date, or a triggering event, such as a medical determination of your incapacity.


5. Successor Agents: It’s wise to appoint one or more successors who can step in if your primary appointee is unwilling or unable to fulfill their role. This ensures a backup plan to manage your finances if needed.


6. Duration: Define when the financial POA terminates. It can expire on a specific date upon your revocation or passing. Or you can set it up as a durable power of attorney. Under a durable power of attorney, you could make the agent effective immediately and continuing even in the event of your incapacity.


7. Signature and Notarization: Ensure the document is signed and dated and complies with your state’s legal requirements for notarization and witnesses. You may need a notary public present. You must meet these requirements to ensure the financial POA is valid.


A well-crafted financial power of attorney is a cornerstone of financial planning and wealth security. It empowers you to maintain control over your financial legacy while providing for the seamless management of your finances in times of need. By carefully considering and including these critical elements, you can create a robust financial POA that serves your best interests and ensures your economic well-being.

Types of Financial POAs

Depending on your specific needs and preferences, there are different types of powers of attorney to consider:


1. General Power of Attorney: This grants broad authority to your chosen person or attorney-in-fact to manage various financial matters on your behalf. This can include banking transactions, bill payments, investment decisions, real estate transactions, and tax-related tasks. It is often used for convenience, such as when traveling and needing someone to manage your finances temporarily.


2. Limited Power of Attorney or Specific Financial POA: Unlike a General financial POA, a Limited or Specific financial POA grants the person in authority for a specific financial task or a limited set of functions. For example, you might create a Limited financial POA to authorize your chosen person to sell a particular piece of real estate on your behalf. Once the designated task is completed, the person’s authority typically ends.


3. Durable Financial POA: This remains effective even if you become incapacitated or mentally incompetent. This type of POA is designed to provide continuity in managing your financial affairs when you cannot make decisions independently. It is an essential component of comprehensive estate planning.


4. Springing Financial POA: A Springing financial power of attorney becomes effective only under specific conditions outlined in the power of attorney document. Typically, it “springs” into action upon a triggering event, such as a medical determination of your incapacity. This type of POA can provide security, ensuring the person’s authority is activated only when needed.


5. Non-Durable Financial POA: Unlike a durable financial POA, a non-durable financial POA ceases to be effective if you become incapacitated. It is often used for short-term or specific transactions where you need assistance but wish to refrain from granting ongoing authority in case of incapacity.


6. Statutory Financial POA: Some states offer statutory or standard forms for financial POAs that comply with state-specific laws. These forms can provide a convenient and cost-effective way to establish a financial POA, but they may need customization.


7. Medical and Financial POA Combo: You can create separate Medical and financial POAs to designate different people for healthcare decisions and financial decisions. This approach allows you to choose individuals with expertise in each area and tailor the authority granted to match the respective responsibilities. This might be a good option if you are looking into end-of-life preparation and are concerned about who will be making medical decisions.


When choosing the type of financial power of attorney that suits your needs, you must consider state law, your specific circumstances, preferences, and objectives. Ensure your chosen POA aligns with your financial goals and safeguards your interests.

Who Might Need a Financial Power of Attorney?

While it’s often associated with estate planning for older adults, its relevance extends to a broader range of scenarios. Here’s a breakdown of who might need a power of attorney for finances:


1. Seniors and Elderly Individuals: Many seniors and elderly individuals proactively create a financial power of attorney for their estate planning. This document ensures that someone they trust can manage their finances and make financial decisions if they become incapacitated due to age-related conditions or illnesses.


2. Individuals with Health Concerns: Health-related issues, such as chronic illnesses or sudden medical emergencies, can impact a person’s ability to manage finances effectively. Individuals facing these challenges may appoint a person through a financial POA to ensure their financial affairs are in capable hands.


3. Frequent Travelers: Those who travel frequently, whether for work or leisure, may find it practical to have a financial POA. It allows them to designate a person who can handle financial matters in their absence, ensuring bills are paid, investments are managed, and financial responsibilities are met.


4. Anyone Seeking Financial Continuity: Ultimately, anyone concerned about the continuity of their financial affairs may consider a financial POA. It’s a proactive measure that provides peace of mind, knowing that a trusted person can step in and manage finances smoothly when needed.


It’s important to note that the need for a financial power of attorney can arise at any stage of life and for various reasons. Planning by creating this document ensures that your economic interests are protected, and your financial goals are achieved, even in challenging circumstances. Seeking guidance from a seasoned attorney can assist you in tailoring a financial POA to your specific needs and preferences, providing a valuable tool for wealth security and financial planning.

A Vital Component of Your Wealth Security

In today’s complex financial landscape, ensuring the protection and management of your assets is paramount. A financial power of attorney is an important safeguard, offering peace of mind and financial security.


Contact William C. Roof today to discuss setting up a financial power of attorney. We’re here to make estate planning easier.



The contents of this article are not comprehensive, they provide only a general overview of the subject matter discussed. This article does not establish a client-attorney relationship with the reader, and no legal decisions should be made based on the article’s contents. Because every legal matter arises under unique facts specific to the client, no legal decision should be made without consulting a licensed attorney.

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